NASA showed off the first high-resolution, color portrait images taken by the Mars rover Curiosity, detailing a mound of layered rock where scientists plan to focus their search for the chemical ingredients of life on the Red Planet.
This image shows the base of Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual science destination. Scientists enhanced the color to show the Martian scene under the lighting conditions we have on Earth, which helps in analyzing the terrain.
This image shows track marks from the rover's first Martian drives. The rover's Bradbury Landing site and its first tire marks are seen at center, in the distance, while tracks from the second drive are in the foreground. Mount Sharp is on the horizon.
The gravelly area around Curiosity's landing site is in the foreground. Beyond the swale is the red-brown rim of an impact crater. Further in the distance, there are dark dunes and the layered rock at the base of Mount Sharp.
The 100-millimeter Mastcam has 3x better resolution than Curiosity's 34-millimeter Mastcam, though it has a narrower field of view. Some haze obscures the view, but the top ridge, depicted in this image, is 10 miles (16.2 kilometers) away.